Visually Impaired Woman Says She Couldn't Vote

© Fatos Floyd has voted in every election since 1986

Nicole Ebat

LINCOLN, NEB. (KPTM)--A blind woman has filed a complaint against the Lancaster Election Commission in Lincoln, Neb.

Fatos Floyd called the voting office to let them know she and another blind friend planned to go vote on Oct. 4th.

"I was talking to them in passing I said, I'm going to come with a friend. It's the first time she's going to use the machine as a blind person, so it's really exciting and they kind of stopped talking to me," said Floyd. "They told me the machines are not available and they were not going to be to be available for probably another 10 days."

The machines she's talking about are the Automark machines. They help people who are visually impaired submit a ballot without someone else seeing it.

Floyd has voted in every election since she became a U.S. citizen in 1986. She said this is the first time she's ever had a problem like this.

The Help America Vote Act says that polling places need to have all the equipment needed for disabled people to vote without needing someone else's help.

Nebraskans for Civic Reform helped Floyd file the complaint.

"I don't think I would want someone looking over my shoulder and seeing how I'm voting while I'm voting and I don't think anyone else would," said Adam Mortfeld, the executive director of the group."That's the purpose of the Help America Vote Act. That's the purpose to provide private, independent voting to people with disabilities."

Early voting had already been in effect for three days when Floyd found out the machines weren't ready.

"It is my right to vote at the same time like anybody else then I should be able to start voting on October 1st like any other Nebraskans, like my peers," she said.

She was told the third-party company that programs the machines hadn't received the approved ballot in time for the machines to be ready at the start of early voting.

She says she hopes her problems prompt action in the legislature.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Lancaster Election Commission had the automark machine in its office.